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The going gets weirder with McCann’s entry

Monday, Apr 23, 2018

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

Several months ago, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s chief of staff, Tim Mapes, made copies of candidate nominating petitions for what appeared to be every single candidate in the state, regardless of party or office sought. Madigan’s spokesperson was mum when asked why.

It turns out that a database was constructed of the names of all the people who circulated petitions during the primary.

Here’s why that matters:

Last week, state Sen. Sam McCann, R-Plainview, pulled the trigger on a third-party bid for governor. McCann, an avowed foe of Gov. Bruce Rauner, will have to collect 25,000 valid petition signatures by June 25 to get onto the November ballot.

There’s a catch, however. Under state law, all signatures for McCann gathered by people who also circulated petitions for partisan primary candidates will be invalidated. Now, thanks to the new data base, it is a relatively simple matter of plugging in names of potential McCann petition circulators to weed out the potential problems.

If McCann gets on the ballot, the idea is to establish a new party’s identity with one specific goal in mind. Its name is the Conservative Party. Its mission is to attract conservative Republican voters who are upset with Rauner’s views and actions on abortion, “sanctuary state” and other stuff, including possibly guns.

Four years ago, Operating Engineers Union Local 150 backed the Libertarian Party’s candidate to hurt Rauner, but that candidate also got a number of votes from folks who didn’t like Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. The new Conservative Party will focus on disaffected Republicans and attempt to continue the theme that Rauner is unable to unify his own party after his narrow GOP primary victory over Rep. Jeanne Ives.

If McCann survives the petition process, one challenge will be finding money for this race.

Lots of union leaders and others believe that billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker has this race in the bag. They’re convinced Pritzker’s personal fortune along with a strong national Democratic wave will destroy the Republican incumbent.

But the folks behind this Conservative Party idea (including Local 150) firmly believe they need a “Plan B” in case something goes horribly wrong.

Pritzker could be hit with some unforeseen opposition research, for example. The national political climate could suddenly change for any number of reasons. Rauner could somehow get his act together.

And even if the Democrats’ stars remain aligned all the way through November, a McCann candidacy could help the Democrats run up the score on Rauner.

But the plan has its detractors. Democratic legislative candidates in Republican-leaning districts have been hoping that the national “blue wave” that so many see heading this way, combined with Gov. Rauner’s horrible unpopularity, will lead to lower turnout among Republicans and help them squeak through. Putting McCann on the ticket gives disaffected Republican voters a reason to head to the polls and they won’t be voting for Democrats down the ballot.

And while calling it an “interesting play,” a top Republican official with close ties to the governor said Sen. McCann could attract some Democratic votes as well.

Pritzker, after all, has far more liberal stances than Rauner on immigration, guns, abortion, etc. Rauner has repeatedly said in recent weeks that he strongly opposes illegal immigration and flatly denies that a bill he signed into law created a “sanctuary state.” The governor also claims to be a National Rifle Association member and vetoed a bill last month that would’ve regulated gun dealers.

Pritzker’s vast holdings include several companies that have really bad records when it comes to their employees.

In other words, it’s more than conceivable that the Rauner campaign could use targeted media to try and drive conservative, pro-union Democrats and independents to McCann.

It’s also very possible that Rauner will go all-out negative against McCann. A far-right group aired a very nasty radio ad during the March primary about the governor and his wife. So, the Rauner folks may feel free to go just as negative on McCann.

Operating Engineers Union Local 150 contributed $50,000 to McCann’s campaign fund just a few days before McCann’s announcement and will be very involved in his effort. The union is known for its unorthodox political moves, like working with conservative activist Dan Proft during the primary against House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.

But the involvement of Local 150 also gives Rauner the ability to use the “Madigan issue” against McCann because the union local has close ties to the House Speaker.

If you thought the weirdness ended on primary day, it’s actually just beginning.

We’ll have more on this topic later today.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - RNUG - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 9:25 am:

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    Going to be interesting to see where McCann’s money comes from.


  2. - Retired Educator - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 9:26 am:

    This is Illinois. Politics is like the weather, if you don’t like it, wait a few minutes, and it will change. I agree this is going to get really weird even for Illinois.


  3. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 9:30 am:

    McCann is going to need a very competent, tight and loyal crew to run his petitions.

    Is that kind of team out there for him? Beware of nobodies nobody sent. They might be susceptible to big “mistakes” in circulating their petitions.

    It won’t be easy to get to 25K valid sigs post-primary and Rauner will bring the house in the challenge process.

    Judging by their ferocious response to McCann’s announcement, the Rauner crew sees a third-party candidate on something called the Conservative Party as a potentially fatal wound, bleeding off votes he’ll desperately need in November.


  4. - Real - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 9:35 am:

    Obviously from Unions and right wing organizations.


  5. - Streamwood Retiree - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 9:43 am:

    If Rauner cared about the Republican Party, he would have declined to run again, leaving the field for fresh candidates. Rauner cares about Rauner. No one else.


  6. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 9:46 am:

    So Madigan collected this data to help Republican McCann? Or am I reading this wrong.
    I think it’s true that this might hurt down ballet Democratic votes. And a McCann race will definitely take votes from Pritzker.
    So why do this if you are Madigan?


  7. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 9:51 am:

    There should be a loud group of protesters chanting “this is what democracy doesn’t look like”

    What is the constituency for Mc Cann?

    Voters who support good government candidates like Frank Mautino and Aaron Shock?


  8. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 10:05 am:

    ===What is the constituency for Mc Cann?===

    Central Illinois, pro-life, pro-gun, pro-Labor voters.

    Rauner has no constituency.

    Keep up


  9. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 10:09 am:

    ===And a McCann race will definitely take votes from Pritzker.===

    How many pro-life, pro-gun, pro-union Dems exist these days?

    The GA was littered with them at one point, not anymore.

    McCann needs only a 3-5% swing… that’s it.

    That and 25,000 signatures, valid, an attorney to keep him on the ballot, a Crew that will focus on the Quincy, Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign, and Springfield region to go after the Republicans Rauner left behind… and money.

    Other than that…

    Oh.

    And McCann has baggage that still isn’t cleaned, pressed, or put away…


  10. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 10:23 am:

    Rauner has no constituency?

    How about Illinois voters who don’t like Mike Madigan and want a Governor who will not be a rubber stamp for his agenda

    I think there are a few people like that in Illinois who don’t like the corrupt, self dealing, Democratic machine that ignores the bipartisan will of the majority of the people in Illinois on term limits, pension reform, fair maps, property tax reform, workers comp reform etc.

    Keep telling your fellow Republicans every day that Mike Madigan is aligned with their interests OW, there must be someone who will believe you


  11. - Liandro - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    So ugly.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 10:33 am:

    ===How about Illinois voters who don’t like Mike Madigan and want a Governor who will not be a rubber stamp for his agenda===

    So, dismissing conservatives, which Rauner has, and dismissing Trumpkins, as Rauner is not with Trump…

    … with an uber-left, costal, limousine liberal agenda signed, including HB40, and what conservatives still call today, wrongly, “sanctuary state” legislation, while saying he (Rauner) is tough in immigration… and so grossly anti-labor….

    Illinois by nearly every measure is worse off since Rauner became governor, and is measured as the worst Republican governor in America, winning his own primary by 4 points…

    Rauner is under water by 25+ points and is trailing in the polls to a candidate already… already underwater too.

    Rauner has no constituency. The primary pointed that out. Clearly.

    === think there are a few people like that in Illinois who don’t like the corrupt, self dealing, Democratic machine that ignores the bipartisan will of the majority of the people in Illinois on term limits, pension reform, fair maps, property tax reform, workers comp reform etc.===

    lol

    Yeah, you’re in to something.

    It WAS a bipartisan General Assembly that saved Illinois from the failing Rauner, as they passed a budget and override the purposeful hurting Rauner wants for Illinois. You’re right, that’s bipartisan, by actual GA votes too.

    ===Keep telling your fellow Republicans every day that Mike Madigan is aligned with their interests OW, there must be someone who will believe you===

    McCann is running against Rauner. That’s what this post is about.

    McCann is a Central Illinois, pro-life, pro-gun, pro-Labor voters.

    Keep up. Be honest.


  13. - Honeybear - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 10:42 am:

    The McCann entrance, to me, lays bare the Madigan perfidy. Rauner has never been about fighting Madigan. It is a perfidious means to hide the singular and maniacally focused goal to destroy all labor. Duping Republicans with anti Madigan pap has been a means to it.
    McCann calls to mind what real Republicans ,not Libertarian/Mont Pelerin/Raunerite ,are about.
    They don’t expect McCann to win
    They don’t care that he is flawed
    Southern Illinois
    Wants the “stranger in their house” ( hat tip to OW)
    Out
    For good
    Rauners days of perfidy
    Are over
    Republicans told me so


  14. - @misterjayem - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 10:54 am:

    Like the Ives campaign before it, McCann’s candidacy is simply another instance of Bruce Rauner’s chickens come home to roost.

    Being an old farm boy myself, chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad; they always made me glad.

    – MrJM


  15. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 10:56 am:

    Governor Rauner is an über left costal limousine liberal?

    Who drives a trash can van in a Carhartt jacket and spends a lot of his free time in Utah, Wyoming and Montana?

    The bipartisan permanent tax increase was popular?

    Why are so many of the Republicans who voted for the 32% permanent income tax with zero reforms retiring then?

    Take a look at the bond ratings and Harvey and North Chicago OW, Illinois won’t be saved until it addresses the pension crisis that is causing the budget deficit and and allows for municipal bankruptcies

    Burying your head in the sand on unbalanced budgets for the past 18 years and promising more spending even though the pension ramp is increasing does not count as governing


  16. - Anon0091 - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 11:02 am:

    “How many pro-life, pro-gun, pro-union Dems exist these days?”

    I would expand that question to include Democrat-leaning independents. To me (and I think to Rich) this is the big question Willy. I fear that in a race that will make both major party candidates fairly toxic by November, McCann could provide an easy outlet in much the way Gary Johnson and Jill Stein did in 2016. I just can’t vote for _______ so I’ll do the honorable thing and vote for the other guy - in this case McCann.

    Frankly, I think a lot of obstacles remain including getting 50,000 signatures (to get 25,000 valid) and the other things Willy mentioned. But in general I prefer fewer wild cards and McCann presents a wild card.


  17. - @misterjayem - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 11:03 am:

    “Burying your head in the sand on unbalanced budgets for the past 18 years and promising more spending even though the pension ramp is increasing does not count as governing”

    Are you fer Bruce Rauner or again’ him?

    – MrJM


  18. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 11:06 am:

    ===Governor Rauner is an über left costal limousine liberal?===

    You said yourself.

    Signing HB40, that’s something even California couldn’t get done. lol

    ===Who drives a trash can van in a Carhartt jacket and spends a lot of his free time in Utah, Wyoming and Montana?===

    Aw.

    You’re mistaking the phony as honesty.

    Costumes don’t maketh the man. Rauner can’t tell the truth about his own grandfather, and you’re putting up a trash can van and western states as some sort of proof?

    Raunerism is funded by Diana and Bruce Rauner.

    They dispise social services, as Bruce refuses to pay them. and want higher education eliminated.

    No set of costumes will cover the phony that Raunerism hurts Illinois.

    ===Why are so many of the Republicans who voted for the 32% permanent income tax with zero reforms retiring then?==

    How can Rauner get only 52% of Republicans blocks votes? Is it because Rauner is ineffective, a failed governor who has made Illinois worse, by nearly every measure since taking the oath?

    Rauner has lost the faith of the state.

    ===Take a look at the bond ratings and Harvey and North Chicago Illinois won’t be saved until it addresses the pension crisis that is causing the budget deficit and and allows for municipal bankruptcies===

    Bond rating you say?

    Mr. Schrimpf?

    ===“Illinois’ credit rating has been downgraded 13 times under Pat Quinn and now, because of his failed leadership, our state’s economy and finances are still broken. Pat Quinn put special interest politics ahead of Illinois workers. We need to change direction before it’s too late.” – Rauner campaign spokesperson Mike Schrimpf===

    Bruce Rauner fails again… according to you.

    ===Burying your head in the sand on unbalanced budgets for the past 18 years and promising more spending even though the pension ramp is increasing does not count as governing===

    A governor yet to sign a budget is failed leadership, especially if a bipartisan GA overrode a governor to save Illinois from not having a budget again.

    No head in the sand, a budget never signed by Rauner is a failure.

    As @StatehouseChick says… “Simple”


  19. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 11:16 am:

    Pritzker apparently is not suffering from Clintonitis, a politically fatal form of arrogance, voter neglect and assumption that he can get votes without working for them, from the looks of his ground game.

    “the corrupt, self dealing, Democratic machine that ignores the bipartisan will of the majority”

    Who again blew up the grand bargain and didn’t agree to *any* compromise offers? None, as in zero. The vetoes say so. It was Rauner who thwarted bipartisanship. If Rauner had his way we’d be three years without a budget, and with unmitigated and unprecedented damage to the state and so many of its most vulnerable residents.


  20. - Arsenal - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 11:17 am:

    ==And a McCann race will definitely take votes from Pritzker.==

    “Definitely”? The only possible overlap is downstate union rank-and-file, and they are by no means all-in on JB yet.


  21. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 11:18 am:

    Bruce Rauner has kept his 20 year old trash can van for 17 years before he was Governor because he is a phony. Got it

    Rauner has yet to sign a budget because the majority in the legislature has not acknowledged the reason for the budget deficits- pensions and health care.

    Continuing to wallpaper over cracked plaster and say how great it looks does not solve the problem OW. We have tried that for 18 years.


  22. - A State Employee Guy - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 11:20 am:

    Wow. I would say that IUOE 150 is just “confused,” but that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.


  23. - Arsenal - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 11:26 am:

    ==How about Illinois voters who don’t like Mike Madigan and want a Governor who will not be a rubber stamp for his agenda==

    That gets you a 26% approval rating and roughly half of your party’s vote.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 11:42 am:

    ===Bruce Rauner has kept his 20 year old trash can van for 17 years before he was Governor because he is a phony. Got it===

    Know anyone gladly wearing a pristine Carhartt barn coat?

    Rauner having the state police tooling him around the state in it?

    ===Rauner has yet to sign a budget because the majority in the legislature has not acknowledged the reason for the budget deficits- pensions and health care.===

    “I’m frustrated too but taking steps to reform Illinois is more important then a short term budget stalemate.”?

    That’s not a great look.

    Leaders get signed budgets. You’re admitting Rauner is a colosssl failure. Why wear with pride, like a pristine Carhartt barn coat, the failures as… good?

    ===Continuing to wallpaper over cracked plaster and say how great it looks does not solve the problem OW. We have tried that for 18 years.===

    The only way this could ever make sense is you admitting the the three years of Rauner have been a failure too.

    How did that work out for Quinn?

    LOL


  25. - Arsenal - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 12:03 pm:

    ==Continuing to wallpaper over cracked plaster and say how great it looks does not solve the problem OW. ==

    And yet, you continue to do that.


  26. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 12:13 pm:

    As much as I was hoping for a truly independent 3rd party candidate to enter the governor’s race, McCann doesn’t truly grant that wish (a Republican with Democratic backing is a bit off the mark, and is likely only there as a spoiler to Rauner). I voted for Rauner, but only because of the disasterous 12 years of total D control of the state that preceeded him. But I’m with LP, I would vote for Rauner again before giving total control back to Madigan.


  27. - Langhorne - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 1:09 pm:

    I consider Rauner s primary vote his anemic base line.
    Nuclear negative on Pritzker, McCann, and all things madigan, may depress the overall vote, but adds nothing to Rauner s tally. Rauner has to give people reasons to vote FOR him. Sadly, his crew is better at that than Pritzker. And it will be total BS


  28. - Ron - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 2:08 pm:

    Illinois is not a conservative state. McCann won’t get more than 3%.


  29. - NMR - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 4:28 pm:

    As long as the current admin isn’t voted back in, JB or McCann would be an improvement. Either one would have his hands full. Sam isn’t the kind of pass the buck type of guy. He’ll get to work and do what’s right for the people.


  30. - RNUG - Monday, Apr 23, 18 @ 11:41 pm:

    == McCann won’t get more than 3%. ==

    If Sam can get the money to get in front of people, he can attract more support than you might think. He’s always out talking to the citizens of his district. He truly sermd to like campaigning and can connect with people.

    I would live to see him win, but I don’t think he has enough time or money to make a solid run. I still think he will manage to pull about 8% of the total vote between fed up GOP, Blue Dog D’s, and some independents.


  31. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Apr 24, 18 @ 8:14 am:

    “Continuing to wallpaper over cracked plaster”

    Let’s hire the guy who wrecks the house to fix the walls.

    The bill backlog tripled and the deficit doubled. It’s now reported that interest on debt is over $1 billion, and since 2015 it has grown more than in the last 18 years. What’s different that could have caused all of this?

    It would be much worse if the GA didn’t bail out the governor. It would have been catastrophic. The governor owns it because he wouldn’t agree to any compromise offers on his nonbudget demands. Zero. So he got nothing but a terrible record. Boy that’s leadership, isn’t it?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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